Yesterday, 26th of July, the Israeli military set up a so-called “flying checkpoint” – made up of three jeeps and a couple of cement blocks – on the busy road from Ramallah to Tulkarm between the villages of Beit Iba and Beit Lid.
They refused to let any Palestinians pass going in both directions starting from two o’clock in the afternoon. After many hours standing in the sun, some of the people got so frustrated they initiated a spontaneous demonstration. The Israeli army responded to their peaceful act of defiance by shooting massive amounts of tear gas into the crowd, followed by live ammunition fired above people’s heads.
Amidst the chaos, Shadi Takhsin Abu Aidi, from Beit Lid, was grabbed by the army, blindfolded and thrown into a jeep.
The army escorted settlers- headed for one of the many settlements and outposts around Nablus- past the mile-long line of Palestinian vehicles, ambulances and buses loaded with wedding guests, students and children.
A group of women students from Jenin, one of whom was severely ill, had been told that they were not to be allowed to pass, even though the alternative way to Jenin was also blocked. When
asked whether they were supposed to sleep beside the road, one of the Israeli soldiers replied that the women could pass but not their male driver. “They can walk to Jenin”, he said and turned his back on them.
At about ten o’clock in the evening, the Israeli military started letting Palestinian vechicles pass.
This is in no way an isolated incident. The Israeli army regularly prevents the passage of Palestinians to school, work and during medical emergencies. Currently there is a closure of Northern cities and villages of the West Bank, where checkpoints are completely closed for many hours of the day for no reason other than to restrict movement.